While reports of Whitney Houston‘s net worth at the time of her death range from zero to $115 million, the amount Houston is projected to make posthumously is far greater than any paycheck the singer/actress had seen in years.
“There were certainly rumours that Whitney Houston died broke and she didn’t have any significant financial impact in the last couple years of her life,” Forbes writer Zack O’Malley Greenburg told E! Online. “It’s been a while since she has put out an album and been on tour, so one could see why towards the end of her life she would be running a bit low on cash.”
But the day after her death, iTunes increased the price of Houston’s songs from 99 cents to $1.29, from which her label Sony will profit.
And a huge profit at that.
After Michael Jackson‘s death in 2009, his “estate made $279 million—boosting his $500 million net worth by over 50 per cent,” according to Forbes.
“Fundamentally, it’s the realisation that it’s the end of the artist’s productivity, that they won’t produce anything more, that sparks the buying frenzy,” Theo Peridis, a professor of strategic management at York University, told CBC News.
“The demand for her [Whitney’s] singles and albums will only continue to soar in the days and weeks ahead. It’s a very predictable pattern that happens with all famous artists,” explained Peridis. “They become valuable commodities. If they were shares, you would see Bay Street buying them up.”
After the success of her 'Moment of Truth' world tour, Forbes named Whitney the highest earning African-American woman and the third highest entertainer after Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy.
Whitney earned $33 million from 'The Bodyguard' soundtrack. Its lead single 'I Will Always Love You' became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first person to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period.
Forbes estimates this was the most lucrative period of Whitney's career. At the time, Whitney was ranked third-highest earning female entertainer behind Oprah Winfrey and Barbra Streisand.
Whitney gets a $10 million paycheck for starring alongside Denzel Washington in 'The Preacher's Wife.' The soundtrack to the film was the highest-selling gospel album of all time.
'Whitney: The Greatest Hits' is released worldwide. The greatest hits album was certified triple platinum in the US, with worldwide sales of $10 million.
Whitney signs the biggest record deal in music history with Arista/BMG. She renewed her contract for $100 million to deliver six new albums, on which she would also earn royalties.
After divorcing, Whitney and Bobby Brown sell their 8,200-square-foot Georgia home that was featured on Bravo's 'Being Bobby Brown.'
At the time of her death, E! Online reports Whitney 'had approximately $2.85 million worth of real estate in her name in the form of two homes in New Jersey, one of which was nearly auctioned out from under her in 2006. Daughter Bobbi Kristina has listed her address as an Atlanta townhouse that was purchased in 2007 for $509,875.'
The day after her death, Sony Music upped the basic track price on Whitney's iTunes songs from 99 cents to $1.29.
Whitney's close friend and Sony chief creative officer Clive Davis, will also benefit from the singer's (who he discovered) death. Davis executive-produced Houston's first three hugely successful albums as well as her final effort, 2009's I Look To You. He is also credited as a producer on 1998's My Love Is Your Love.
Reports on Whitney's net worth vary from she was broke to she had over a hundred million dollars. As Whitney's only child, 18-year-old Bobbi Kristina will likely receive any remaining assets but all financial information will remain private unless the singer's will is made public in litigation or a tax dispute.
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